Tuesday Poem – Thoughts From a Botanical Gardens Tree Hugger

Thoughts From a Botanical Gardens Tree Hugger

I hug trees.

I like the large ones best.

First of all I hold my hand in close

feel the heat from its trunk

place my ear against its pulse

then stretch my arms around it

and murmur ‘Yggdrasil.’


But there is one tree in the gardens

surrounded by a fence.

The poles are black and shiny

the sign bright yellow.

“This red beech is declining’

it says ‘and may drop large branches

at any time.  Please stay back.’


Reminds me of us humans

when we come of age.

Pop us in the bed

pull up the side rails.

‘This person is declining and may dribble

drop its food and other things

or toss its limbs about.

Please stay back.’


So I ask you when it’s my turn

remove the barriers

hug me

and whisper the word



The Botanical Gardens in Christchurch is one of my favourite places.   I’m not there at present so not sure how this tree is going.


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14 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem – Thoughts From a Botanical Gardens Tree Hugger

  1. If I haven’t entirely declined myself, I promise I will.

    Your neatly crafted poem has an ache in it.

    I like R S Thomas’s tree too:
    ‘Looking upon this tree with its quaint pretension
    Of holding the earth, a leveret, in its claws,
    Or marking the texture of its living bark.
    A grey sea wrinkled by the winds of years…’

  2. A proper welcome to Tuesday Poem, Helen – you had problems last week but there it is this week, where it should be, in the TP sidebar. Nice sentiments in the poem – it rejigs our thinking nicely. And yes, next time I’ll hug a tree.

  3. Ah, yes, those dreaded fences. I’m sure they have their purpose, but I think your request is beautiful in its universality – a hug and a whisper of ‘Yggdrasil’. A perfect meditative poem – thank you for posting your poetry, Helen 🙂

  4. Christchurch botanical gardens is one of my favourite places – particularly when the magnolias are in bloom. There are some spectacular trees – one with huge roots my little grandsons can climb inside like a tent. Last time I was there it was riven by great torn splits where the earthquake had roared through. I hope to be there again next year. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Hi Helen,
      yes please say hello. I have been talking to the people at the gardens and they say it survived the earthquakes without apparent damage but is still declining…a natural thing due to old age.

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